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Mele Village, Vanuatu - 26-30 July 1999

This report was prepared by Andonia Piau-Lynch and Henry Vira. We would like to acknowledge the assistance of Theresa Bagnall (CUSO) who provided invaluable comments during the preparation of this document; Gregor McNish (CUSO) and Joses Togase (ESCAP) for their expertise in scanning the photos and John Lynch for his editorial assistance.

Minutes of the Strategic Planning Workshop & Council Meeting from which this report is based were provided by Theresa Bagnell and Gregor McNish (CUSO/VANGO). Photos were provided by Ian Aujare (DSE, Solomon Islands) and Henry Vira.

PIANGO (1999)

Any part or parts of this report may be copied or adapted without the expressed permission from PIANGO as long as it is accorded the proper acknowledgments. For further information about PIANGO please contact:

The Coordinator
PIANGO Secretariat
P O Box 164
Port Vila
Telephone: (678) 25607
Fax: (678) 25069
e-mail: piango@vanuatu.com.vu

Table of Contents

  1. Preparing the Strategic Planning Process
    1. Introduction
    2. Organizational Preparation
    3. Delegate Preparation
    4. Strategic Planning Defined
    5. Objectives of the Strategic Planning Workshop
  2. Analyzing PIANGO's Internal Environment
    1. Where has PIANGO Come From?
    2. What have been PIANGO's Successes and Accomplishments?
    3. What have been the Nature of PIANGO's Challenges and Strugges?
    4. How can PIANGO be more Effective
  3. Analyzing PIANGO's External Environment
    1. The STEEP Analysis
    2. Socio-cultural Issues
    3. Technological Issues
    4. Economic Issues
    5. Environmental Issues
    6. Political Issues
  4. Evaluating PIANGO's Capabilities
    1. Organisational Analysis
    2. Management Working Group's Ideas on Capacity Building Initiatives
  5. Determining Strategic Objectives
    1. Identifying Learning Needs of NLUs
    2. Exploring Critical Issues
    3. Recommendations from the Strategic Planning Workshop
  6. Action Plan
  7. Evaluation of the Strategic Planning Workshop
  8. Report from the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting
    1. Report from the Coordinating Committee
    2. Report from the Coordinator
    3. Report on the Resolutions of the 2nd PIANGO Council Meeting
    4. Resolutions Endorsed at the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting
    5. New Coordinating Committee Members
    6. Location of the Next Council Meeting
    7. End of Council Meeting
  9. Celebrating Vanuatu's 19th Independence Anniversary
  10. Closing of the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting
  11. Appendices


" Capacity Building: Pathway into the New Millennium" was the theme of the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting which was held in Vanuatu from 26-30 July 1999, a theme which was reflected in the Strategic Planning Workshop to assist non-government organizations to prepare the way into the next millennium. The Workshop took place prior to the Council Meeting from 26-28 July with the objective of providing a process which would both a learning experience for participants and to provide practical exercises which participants can adapt for their own organizations. Keeping this objective in mind, this report is therefore produced in this format so that participants and others who may be interested in how to go about providing strategic directions for their own organizations can thus use this report as a basis.

Several key themes emerged from the recommendations:

IDENTITY – whereby PIANGO's Mission Statement needed to be reviewed to encompass whether it was a movement or an organization and to articulate the core beliefs and values;

STRUCTURE AND SYSTEMS – whereby there was a need to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Coordinating Committee, Secretariat, NLUs and the Working Groups and developing appropriate policies and procedures to guide the work of these bodies within PIANGO;

COMMUNICATIONS – whereby participants saw the need to Improve information distribution within PIANGO's network, and that of its members including the strengthening of relations between NGOs, governments, donors at all levels, and promoting positive working relations between NGOs, churches and traditional customary authorities;

PROFILE – the need to enhance PIANGO's profile both regionally and internationally;

PROGRAMMES AND STRATEGIES – the need to develop and implement capacity building programmes with NLUs and NGOs in response to their identified needs, including the need to promote and support the formation of new NLUs.

12 recommendations for the future direction of PIANGO were identified following the workshop:

  1. Reviewing PIANGO's Mission Statement and Goals to ensure that the mission clearly reflects the nature of PIANGO – including the need to address whether it is an organization or a movement;
  2. Developing appropriate policies and procedures to guide the work of PIANGO
  3. Reviewing the roles and functions of the Working Groups and determine whether or not they should be permanent, issue-based or ad hoc as the need arises;
  4. Articulating the core beliefs and values that guide the work of PIANGO;
  5. Providing relevant and timely information of issues of concerns to NLUs and member NGOs through PIANGO establishing a Resource Centre, ( database of skills and funding sources), acting as a clearing house for information and through newsletters;
  6. Ensuring that the Coordinating Committee, Secretariat and NLUs understand and fulfill their roles and responsibilities including accountability, commitment and clear communication channels;
  7. Developing and implementing strategies to enhance PIANGO's profile within the region and internationally through having a logo and by developing promotional materials;
  8. Strengthening relations between NGOs, governments and donors at the national, regional and international level;
  9. Promoting positive working relations NGOs, churches and traditional customary authorities;
  10. Strengthening links between NLUs, the Secretariat and Working Groups;
  11. Developing and implementing capacity building programmes with NLUs and
  12. NGOs in response to their identified needs, and Promoting and supporting the formation of new NLUs.

Approved by Council on 29 July the Management Working Group and the Secretariat were tasked to draw-up Actions Plans toward the achievement of these recommendations.

Message from the Chair

Friends, it is with great pleasure that I convey to you all my sincerest gratitude for bestowing in me the faith to lead PIANGO as Chairman from 1995-1999. It has been a challenging 4 years and without the generosity of you all, PIANGO would not be where it is today. The 1999 PIANGO Council and Strategic Planning workshop were a culmination of tremendous effort co-ordinated by the Secretariat and supported closely by the Management Working Group and out-going Co-ordinating Committee.

We have witnessed the advantages of working as a team and will continue to benefit as we move forward in unity. Resolutions from the Council, recommendations from the Strategic Planning Workshop and your goodwill will determine the way forward. PIANGO's success in years to come will depend on its ability to "surf the waves" and at the same time develop the skills to "adjust the sails" where necessary.

I wish the new Co-ordinating Committee every success and you all the best that the New Millennium can offer.

Gabriel Tetiarahi
Chairman, PIANGO (1995-1999)

Message from the Coordinator

The successful hosting of the PIANGO Council/Strategic Planning Workshop was a result of immense sacrifice and generosity. It has been an honour and privilege to have been involved in the discussions, planning, writing, fundraising, hosting and reporting of such a significant event. The meeting which was opened by the Minister for Internal Affairs, Honorable Vincent Boulekone brought together over 86 representatives from 21 Pacific Island countries and regions including Australia; New Zealand, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Kanaky, Fiji, Palau, Guam Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Samoa, Niue, Cook Islands, Wallis Futuna, Tahiti and Vanuatu. Donor agencies, regional and international institutions also participated in this 5-day meeting.

I wish to extend on behalf of the Coordinating Committee and Movement our sincerest gratitude to the following without whose contributions we would not have had such a highly productive Strategic Planning/Council meeting outcome. To you all I say "Nu Langwa hamburu":

1995-1999 Coordinating Committee members

Funding Agencies
NZODA, AusAID, Bread for the World (Germany), CCFD (France), Canada Fund (New Zealand), Canada Fund (Australia) and the Commonwealth Foundation (United Kingdom);

Vanuatu Government
Honorable Vincent Boulekone, Minister for Internal Affairs, Jean Sese (Director General, Prime Minister's Office), Vanuatu Mobile Force Band, Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation;

Businesses South Pacific Travel, Air Vanuatu, Microtec, PacTec, Service Centre, Avis, Rent a Car, Aliat Wii Tours, Exotic Gardens, Olympic Hotel & Coral Apartments;

Mele Community
Chief Poilapa and the Chief's Advisory Council, all host families, Mele Host Community and all the cooks, cleaners, and helpers;

Members of Local Civil Society Organizations
PMC, Presbyterian Women's Mothers Union, Vanuatu Red Cross, Tanna Toka Dancers, Fatuana Matua, Vanuatu National Council of Women, VANGO, University of the South Pacific Emalus Campus (Port Vila), Vanuatu National Youth Council;

Lai Sakita (Director NKDT), Harry Umpkon (VANGO), Harold Obed (Port Vila), Thomas Nabagamiola Thomas (Coordinator, Mele Host Committee), Eddy Kalopele Coordinator, Mele Host Committee), Kali Vatoko (Chair, VANGO).

PIANGO is most indebted to the Resource Team and PIANGO Secretariat Staff who worked tirelessly as true professionals through all hours to ensure a successful outcome. These people include:

John Taylor (Capacity building Specialist, CIDA/UNDP); Andonia Piau-Lynch (Vanuatu Counselling Services), Josie Karanga (Facilitator, Te Korawai Aroha, Aotearoa), Colleen Taylor (Facilitator), Joseph Ogaie (Convenor, Management Working Group, PNG) Theresa Bagnall (Rapporteur, CUSO Pacific Programme Coordinator), Gregor McNish (Rapporteur, Information Technology Specialist, CUSO), Margaret & Gilles Kaboha (Omega Translations, Port Vila) and Ashley Karae (Finance and Administration Coordinator, PIANGO Secretariat).

As Coordinator I would also like to pay tribute to all families here and abroad who have sacrificed themselves to help PIANGO gain momentum as a Movement within our Pacific Region. I thank especially my partner, Ann Phillips-Vira for her untiring support throughout.

Finally and above all I thank the Almighty God for making everything possible.

Henry Vira
Port Vila
25 October 1999

Setting the Scene

This Report is a record of what took place prior to and at the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting which was held in Port Vila, Vanuatu from 25-30 July 1999. In an effort to provide a full report of the week’s proceedings, this document has become more than just a recording of the proceedings. It has become an historical document highlighting PIANGO’s first appraisal of itself in era where transparency and accountability is required in our work. It is a document of introspection which has looked into the history of the organization, our current situation and learning from our past in order to set PIANGO’s future directions.

This report spells out the effort required to stage such an event: from the funding perspective to the actual behind the stage work carried out by different actors both within and outside PIANGO. It is more than a report of the Strategic Planning Workshop and the Council meeting: It is a record of work which has taken nearly one year to prepare, involving NGO communities throughout the Pacific, which has culminated in the development of PIANGO’s Strategic Plan for the next couple of years. What is contained here the result of the collective effort of PIANGO members, donors and participants whose deliberations at the meeting have set out PIANGO’s future directions

Format of the Report

The arrangement of this Report follows the activities carried out during the week. It begins with the preparations leading to the meeting, the Strategic Planning Workshop plus the formal Council meeting itself. Reports of other workshops held during the week - and where notes were taken - are included in the Appendix.

Saturday 23 July: Invitation to the Chief’s Nasara

In accordance with the custom of Mele (and in many parts of Vanuatu) a formal ceremony must be conducted by a group wishing to enter the Chief’s nasara. This ceremony paved the way for the Chief Peter Poilapa to receive and invite PIANGO into the village. Through this ceremony PIANGO was able to enter Mele Village properly and be accorded all the hospitality as guests of the Chief and people of Mele Village.

With the assistance of Kali Vatoko and Harry Umpkon of VANGO who liaised between PIANGO and Chief Poilapa this ceremony took place on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. As Chair of PIANGO Gabriel Tetiarahi presented a pig to Harry (VANGO) who then formally presented it to the Chief by ceremonially killing it on the head. Kava was drunk and PIANGO was customarily received into Chief Poilapa’s nasara.

Preparing kava

Preparing kava for the traditional ceremony


Accompanied by his committee members, Chief Poilopa welcomes PIANGO representatives to Mele Village


PIANGO Chair, Gabriel Tetiarahi checks pig

Sunday 24 July

10.00am: Church Service in Honor of PIANGO held by the Vanuatu Christian Council

In recognizing the honor bestowed on Vanuatu by PIANGO hosting its meeting here, the Vanuatu Christian Council held a special church service to commemorate this momentous event. Delegates were then treated to a delicious luncheon provided by the Presbyterian Women’s Mothers Union after which they were bused to Mele.


Delegates at the Church

2.00pm: Welcome Ceremony for PIANGO at Mele Village

Amidst the drizzling warm rain delegates were accompanied into Mele village by the Mele Scouts and the VMF Band to the tune of "Onward Christian Soldiers". Between a corridor consisting of men, women and children who lined up the path singing songs of welcome delegates were led to the village square where they were received by the Chief and people of Mele.

3.00pm: Official Opening the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting

Under the shade of a colourful umbrella during the heavy downpour the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting was officially opened by the Hon. Minister for Internal Affairs Mr Vincent Boulekone who welcomed delegates and expressed on behalf of the Government of Vanuatu their support and gladness that PIANGO was now established in Vanuatu.

1. Preparing the Strategic Planning Process

1.1 Introduction

PIANGO was formally established on 16 August 1991 in Amerika Samoa by a unanimous decision of the gathering of Pacific NGOs organized by the PIANGO Joint Steering Committee. This first meeting established the Council, developed its mission statement and goals, drafted a constitution, and elected its first Coordinating Committee. In 1995 the 2nd PIANGO Council meeting was held in Moorea, Tahiti. This meeting was hosted by Hiti Tau, the National Liaison Unit of community based and non-government organizations (NGOs). At this meeting priority programme areas were identified which saw the establishment of working groups on Environment, Indigenous Rights, Social Development and Economic Development. Between 1995 and 1999 several significant events have taken place: the formation of the Management Working Groups in 1997, the appointment of a Coordinator in 1998 and subsequently the establishment of a Secretariat.

The draft constitution of PIANGO stipulates that a Council meeting be held every three years. With the workload that members of the Coordinating Committee had and the non-existence of the Secretariat the 3rd Council Meeting did not take place in 1998 as was required. With the appointment of the Coordinator in the same year he was able to coordinate an approach that has achieved this constitutional requirement. The 3rd Council meeting therefore was held in Port Vila where over 65 overseas delegates, observers and donor representatives and approximately 26 members of local NGOs and donor agencies attended. Significantly 15 fully affiliated NLUs and five interim organizations attended. Commenting on this fact and how far PIANGO had come since 1991 Bill Armstrong stated that

"Out of 23 countries in the Pacific, 20 of them are represented here at this meeting. This is a major achievement in PIANGO’s brief history".

At this Council meeting another significant event occurred: the departure of Gabriel Tetiarahi and Bill Armstrong who had served as Chair and member (respectively) of PIANGO’s Coordinating Committee since 1991. With their departure, many of the institutional memories left with them but not the spirit which moved the initial will to make PIANGO a reality. For all the founding members of the 1991 PIANGO meeting and those before them who had the vision for linking the NGOs in the Pacific and creating PIANGO, this 3rd Council meeting indeed showed the continued and increasing gathering of the Pacific NGO communities and realizing the vision of PIANGO’s founding mothers and fathers.

1.2 Organizational Preparation

This section provides a brief description of the preparations that took place prior to the meeting. As can be seen, any large gathering such as the Council meeting takes a lot more than just saying that we will hold a meeting in three years. It is hoped that by providing this background it will prove useful to NLU(s) who will host future meetings.

1.2.1 Coordinating Committee

In November 1998 the Coordinating Committee met in Port Vila to plan for the Council Meeting. At this meeting the theme of the Council meeting was agreed: Capacity Building: Pathway to the New Millenium. Arrangements such as the venue of the meeting was discussed and it was at this meeting that the decision was made to hold the meeting in Vanuatu.

1.2.2 Secretariat

Between November 1998 and May 1999 the Coordinator began a nine month journey to secure funding for the Council meeting. Meetings with donor agencies were held in Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and contacts were also made with donor agencies in Europe. The result of this journey saw six major international donors who believed in the PIANGO cause and provided their support for the organization to hold this very important meeting. The Secretariat acknowledges all these donors whose names have been listed on page ix for their generous contributions.

From 26-28 May 1999 the Management Working Group met with resource people in Suva to plan the Council meeting. At this meeting objectives for the Strategic Planning Workshop were developed, which would guide participants toward achieving a plan which would direct PIANGO over the next few years Two facilitators were identified and willingly agreed to organize the Workshop.

1.2.3 Local Support

With the assistance the National Liaison Unit in Vanuatu, VANGO became involved with the preparation of the meeting in November 1998. Mele Village was identified as the most appropriate location for the Council meeting. Meetings were held with Chief Peter Poilapa and his Advisory Committee where preparations began to take place for the hosting of the Council meeting. VANGO Board members and affiliates began to prepare for the meeting which in April 1999 saw the formation of the PIANGO/Mele Committee which coordinated activities outside the formal PIANGO business.

1.3 Delegate Preparation

Following recommendations made at the May meeting in Suva, preparation began for the collation of materials to be sent to delegate’s prior to their arrival in Vanuatu. Packages containing papers that were to be discussed at the Council meeting were sent to each delegate to ensure that they came prepared for the meeting. The PIANGO Monthly also issued a special edition further outlining the objectives of the Workshop for members information as well as books and articles which delegates should become familiar with in order to further prepare them for the meeting.

The Strategic Planning Workshop took place from Monday 25th July to the afternoon of Wednesday 28 July and the Council meeting took place until the afternoon of Thursday 29 July.

1.4 Strategic Planning Defined

The purpose of holding a workshop at the time of Council has been mooted as an occasion where delegates would be able to gain experience from hands-on training in particular areas. Since 1991 an internal review of PIANGO by Council has not been conducted. Strategic planning was suggested as one area which all NLUs could participate which would lead not only to identifying PIANGO’s future directions, but also ensuring that NLUs, who as stakeholders of the organization, become owners of the decisions and directions taken by PIANGO. Additionally, this exercise was seen as training for the ultimate benefit of delegates and their NLUs in carrying out strategic planning for their own organizations.

Strategic Planning is about creating a shared vision of where you want to go in the future. "You have to look at what you learned from your history and from your past and take those lessons forward into the future. As a concept, it is not new in the Pacific: It has been used from time immemorial to keep people fed and safe" (John Taylor, 25 July). It is a process whereby a group of people, or an organization or community analyze what is going on in their organization to position themselves for what they want to do in the future. As a process, strategic planning is designed to answer the following questions:

  • What is the fundamental mission of an organization?
  • What is the organization’s reason for being?
  • What are its deeply-held values and guiding principles?
  • What are the opportunities and the threats that the organization might encounter in the future?
  • What must be the action plan to adopt for the next few years?

The following objectives were therefore developed to meet these questions.

Objectives of the Strategic Planning Workshop

Developing Relations
To provide opportunities for participants to exchange information and experiences and strengthen links between organizations, donors, intergovernmental bodies and regional NGOs;
Developing Skills
To increase practical knowledge and skills of participants in areas such as strategic planning, programme planning and management, information technology and media relations;
Developing Plans
To develop the major components of a three year strategic plan;
Evaluating the Workshop
To evaluate the workshop and make recommendations for improving future PIANGO meetings.

What has been provided above is the first step in strategic planning process. As a tool for NLUs and other interested people, the other five steps in the process, which are reflected in the way this Report is written, is provided in Appendix 4.

2. Analyzing PIANGO’S Internal Environment

2.1 Where has PIANGO come from?

The second part of the strategic planning process looked at the question of where the organization has come from, what forces have played a part in its history, how the organization has responded to these forces and how these factors have shaped the organization as it is today. These different forces or trends include:

  1. What the original purpose was for setting up the organization,
  2. Internal factors of the organization, such as how the organization is structured, how it is administered or governed, what human and financial resources it has, the identification of the strengths and weaknesses, and
  3. Trends outside of the organization, such as social, political, economics, cultural technological innovations which impact the organization and they the organization has dealt with them.

The process by which facilitators led participants through this exercise included answering the following questions:

  • What was PIANGO’s original vision? Are the needs the same today as when the organization was created?
  • What lessons have PIANGO, NLUs and NGOs learned?
  • What were some of the highlights and accomplishments?
  • What were the ups and downs?
  • What patterns can be observed?
  • Who were the key people?

Participants were encouraged to celebrate PIANGO’s successes and acknowledge the downs in order that these lessons can be learned and steps taken to overcome potential pitfalls so that PIANGO, NLUs and NGOs can become more effective in the future. The results of analyzing PIANGO’s internal environment therefore produced a historical chart of the who, when, why, what, where and how of the organization and resulted in the following:

  1. the production of a historical chart or data book of PIANGO,
  2. an identified need to review the Mission Statement,
  3. the identification of strengths and weaknesses of the organization,
  4. the identification of strategies that have worked for PIANGO, and
  5. where PIANGO can go from now.
Participants Drawing The History Of PIANGO

As Pacific people, we look back to the future.

The history of an organization is an important thing to look at. You have to look at what you learned from your history and from your past and take those lessons forward into the future.

You can’t know where you are going until you know where you have been.

(Comments from Delegates)

2.2 What have been PIANGO’s successes/accomplishments?

Reports from various groups showed that PIANGO’s accomplishments have been quite considerable since 1991. These achievements are summarized below.

2.2.1 PIANGO is a Genuine Pacific Organization

Participants expressed a were very strong feeling of pride that PIANGO is a Pacific organization which has grown up from the grassroots. As a forum which has effectively brought together the Pacific family, it has provided support to the NLUs and in turn been supported from this family of NGOs who are its affiliates.

Through the support and contribution by PIANGO to NGOs in mobilizing the grassroots, this has led to a general need for the establishment of umbrella organizations. "PIANGO has survived" and was getting stronger as witnessed by the increasing number of NLUs, increased membership and wider participation throughout the Pacific; the formation of Working Groups, and the participation of other regions such as Micronesia in the Pacific family. Quite clearly participants stressed that PIANGO’s strength lies with the NLUs.

2.2.2 PIANGO is a Recognized Voice for Pacific NGOs

Participants felt strongly and acknowledged that PIANGO provided a recognized voice for the Pacific NGOs which was now being heard increasingly in the international arena. Importantly they felt that there was an increased regional and international awareness of Pacific people and Pacific issues which was attributed to the establishment of the Secretariat which they saw as further strengthening PIANGO’s profile regionally and internationally. Despite their diversity and distances Pacific islands share many common issues and PIANGO has been able to maintain solidarity through networking and linkages leading to the movement becoming stronger.

2.2.3 PIANGO has built Relations Between Governments and Donor Agencies

Participants acknowledged that PIANGO has helped to strengthen relations between NGOs, donors and governments as seen through the increased support from donors which has created opportunities for countries which are not part of the Commonwealth. Through the building up of relationships between donors, PIANGO has managed to secure more funding from them.

2.3 What have been the nature of PIANGO’s challenges and struggles?

Participants were able to identify many challenges and struggles that PIANGO has faced which have been summarized below.

2.3.1 Perception of PIANGO being Donor Driven

PIANGO was perceived as being donor driven and there was a need to work on both reality and the perception.

2.3.2 Perception of PIANGO as a Source of Funding

Participants felt that PIANGO was perceived as a vehicle for accessing funds and voiced their concern that this perception needed to be challenged.

2.3.3 Is PIANGO an Organization or a Movement?

One of the major issues deliberated on at this meeting was the question of whether PIANGO was a organization or a movement. Concern were raised that if PIANGO is an organization, this will in turn create organizational bureaucracy - which was not the intent when it was initially formed. There is still a need to finalize the constitution which should reflect this concern and clarify the issue. Whether PIANGO is a movement or an organization, it was recognized that there was a need for more members and more people to work in the NGO sector.

2.3.4 Lack of Recognition from Governments on the Importance of NGOs

Overall, participants felt that governments did not recognize NLUs. They felt that this lack of recognition could stem from the fact that NLUs themselves lacked strategic approaches to ensure that they were recognized. There was also major concern about the strength and capacity of NLUs who recognize that they themselves do not have a clear vision ot the national level; that they were aid-dependent and needed to be taught to lobby and become issue-based. Lack of liaison and communication between NLUs and PIANGO and the problems of getting NLUs together was another concern centered around NLUs.

2.3.5 NGO Voice & Vision

Although Pacific NGOs have a voice through PIANGO, there was still a need for Pacific NGOs to be better heard at regional and international levels. It was felt that there was a need for ownership of a regional vision, that NGOs should maintain the value of the networking and coordinate strategic movements so that the NGO vision was clearly shared by all and that the voices of NGOs voice were heard more clearly.

2.3.6 Education of Donors & Governments

Participants felt that education of donors has taken a long time; but with governments, they felt that there is still a long way to go to educate them about the NGO sector.

2.3.7 Resources – financial constraints

Participants felt that there were scarce resources available, competition with NGOs and core funding not easy to get.

2.3.8 Leadership

Leadership to support PIANGO’s work in different countries is vulnerable because participants felt that there was no one strong enough in the region to play this leadership role. It was clearly voiced that "There is still a need to decolonize ourselves".

2.4 How can PIANGO be more effective?

2.4.1 Strengthening of the PIANGO Secretariat

Participants felt that more people were needed in the Secretariat. Although this suggestion was counter argued - that a larger Secretariat might lead to a more bureaucratic structure - it was nevertheless felt that strengthening of the Secretariat would help NLUs because PIANGO needed to maintain its contacts with the coconut roots .

2.4.2 NLUs Need to be Self Reliant

Suggestion were made that NLUs need to be self-reliant in order to assist PIANGO. If they are effective, PIANGO will be effective. Therefore participants felt that NLUs should develop a common vision, be motivated, committed and efficient which in turn would further strengthen grassroots organizations. One of the ways that NLUs could assist PIANGO was that every affiliate pay its yearly dues. Participants also suggested that PIANGO should create a fundraising committee to mobilize resources.

2.4.3 More Presence in Regional & International Organizations

Although the Pacific voice was heard, participants felt that it was not heard well enough. One of the ways in which this could be overcome is for PIANGO to represent the NLUs/NGOs in other regional and international organizations. A suggestion for a roving ambassador for PIANGO to raise its profile was made. Caution was raised however, that there was a need to be careful in trying to do too much: that PIANGO should identify its core activities, do them well and not get distracted by doing less important tasks. There were still issues such as the youth and women’s issues that have not been covered although this is part of the organization’s mandate which PIANGO has not responded to.

In summary, for many participants this was their first PIANGO meeting. The result of mapping the internal and external factors impacting PIANGO’s development provided to them a clearer understanding of what PIANGO is. The process of over-viewing the various factors within the region prior to the establishment of PIANGO and since PIANGO’s establishment has highlighted to participants that PIANGO’s history is longer than the official establishment in 1991. The historical chart setting out these factors as seen by participants at this meeting is provided in Appendix 5.


"We have all contributed to the feast in front of us which is our shared history".(Gabriel Tetiarahi)


3. Analyzing PIANGO’s External Environment

3.1 The STEEP Analysis

An external scan prompted by the question "Where are we now?" was conducted which gave delegates the background against which to set PIANGO and NLUs at this point in time. Using the STEEP analysis participants were able to identify and discuss the issues in these areas which have had, and, will continue to have an impact on PIANGO as well as the NGO communities.

3.2 Social-Cultural Issues

It was clearly voiced that values of Pacific cultures have been exploited by the influence of modern changes: that governments were offering modern development but as a result they ended up exploiting our societies. This has led to loss of cultures in many societies which in turn has caused many social problems and much hardship. Of special concern was the increasing alienation of youth which required special consideration and attention. Participants agreed that although it is a fact of life that we have been integrated into the global economy, how do we protect community rights and indigenous rights? As stated by one delegate

Culture is our strength and we need to sustain our traditional values and uniqueness. What is needed is to be integrated with the global environment yet develop indigenous based models, practices and ways of doing things, to recognize and work with existing structures and organizations and to utilize all the available resources.

It was further stressed that all things should be approached within a cultural context because of the uniqueness of each country in the region. As NGOs, there was a need to do a structural analysis in order that NGOs know what is going on in the region and in the world at large. Participants noted that there was a need to encompass the diversity of the Pacific but at the same time be cognizant of the fact that every culture in the Pacific will have their own way of doing things. It was emphasised that NGOs needed to hold on to these facts and to celebrate the diversity of these cultures.

"The leaves on the trees may change, but the roots do not have to change"

The result of recognizing and addressing these factors and subsequently the effects that they would have on the NGO Communities was that NGOs themselves would have a clearer direction and be internally or NGO driven rather than be driven by donors, that the issue of uniqueness of Pacific cultures would come to the fore, and ultimately the NGO agenda would be driven by the community itself.

3.3 Technological Issues

Technology is about more than information technology: It has to do with appropriate and alternative technologies. The use of technology raised the question of ownership and sustainability of Pacific NGOs as it can create dependency and alienate those without access to modern technologies. Normally when we talk about technology we talk about science and progress but when you look at the impact there are contradictions.

Questions were raised that overseas people bring expertise but do NGOs have the means to maintain these experts and the training that they provided as technological innovations have on-going financial and human resource implications which can have a negative impact on the NGOs’ ability to be self-reliant. Managing these factors, therefore, was critical and depended on the way decisions were made by NGOs.

Participants felt that technology was often used to enable the capitalist system to move forward but it gave little consideration to the individual. As one delegate stated "Science is moving forward but people are being left behind". If technology is tied to helping the individual instead of the group then individuals will break down social ways of organizing. People should manage the technology and not let the technology manage them. Although technology can be very divisive, it can also bring people together: it facilitates communications, but it lessens human contact. Participants felt that they have to ensure that communities have the necessary levels of education to manage technology. Additionally, analysis must be made of the levels and appropriateness of any technology used. Concern about technological innovations, access to technology such as videos, television and now with internet and the powerful effects these have on children is a grave concern.

The effects of technological innovations on NGOs and communities are varied but principally:

  • It created dependency; required high level of inputs, training, equipment & resources;
  • The effects on society include alienation, unemployment, impact on culture, health, environment, politics, social, economics, self-reliance, and
  • it brings into question the issue of sustainability. With new technologies it leaves NGOs with many equipment which become obsolete in a short time, requires developing additional skills which is often hindered due to limited human and financial resources.

3.4 Economic Issues

Our elders are talking about economics but not just about money . It has to do with utilizing, maximizing and protecting our resources that sustain us as a people. It is a question of values where cooperation should be valued ahead of competition, and communal advancement ahead of individualism. Much of the discussion was concerned with economic globalization: Structural Adjustment Programmes; GATT, IMF, World Bank, MAI, ADB, APEC, Multinationals, World Trade Organization and the negative effects felt at all levels of society resulting in poverty, corruption, debt, centralization, reforms, government abuse of natural and human resources; decline in natural resources, land mobilization. It is quite clear that

Economic growth does not equal development

Issues of control – or who controls us – suggest that our national priorities have become distorted. In the NGO sector, NGOs have more work but fewer resources and these resources are often tied to donors’ specifications. The effects of globalization on the community is quite clear that economic rationalization does not equal development: it is the reverse and raises serious questions of control.

3.5 Environmental Issues

Our environment – the land, sea and the air that we breathe – is our life. It sustains us and overlies everything else. NGOs have an important and continuing role to play in educating about the impact of the destruction of our environment. Development therefore must take into account the welfare of future generations. The lives of many are sold for the benefit of a few and there is inadequate legislation in place. Participants agreed that the NGO community must address greed, affluence and excess because our environment affects everything. Although each country has different primary concerns there are so many of these concerns that they cannot all be covered in the time available at this meeting.

The issue of overpopulation was a concern raised in light of the devastation of our natural resources and the suggestion was made that family planning be introduced at the grassroots level. Participants note that there was generally a lack of awareness at the grassroots level and issues on population and so moved the need to promote education especially on family planning, and for the welfare of future generations.

The effects of the mis-management of our environment and subsequently the effects on the community are over-exploitation of natural resources such as our forests, our minerals, our seas, our waters. The global impacts of such exploitation leading to global warming, depletion of fish stocks, industrialization, inadequate waste management and threats of nuclear waste being housed in the Pacific are real concerns. Participants voiced their concern that often we forget the effects of development on the environment. A lot of development is sponsored by people and organizations who have their own agendas. Technology has not served to enhance the environment. Legislation exists, but policies and methods of enforcement are lacking. Participants stressed that we must consider what will happen tomorrow and with our children, that we need to raise community awareness through formal and non-formal education, with an integrated approach. Greed, affluence and excess are the real issues that needed addressing.

3.6. Political Issues

In terms of the political factors it was recognized that economic globalization is a fact of life and that most governments’ decisions are centered around economic factors. NGO communities therefore have to look at the internal administration of governments and address some current but very basic factors such as corruption which have a major impact on society at large. Participants voiced their concern about legislative and judicial powers and recognized that there were no guarantees that economic reforms were going as hoped. They stressed that political reforms were creating bureaucracy – a factor which they considered as the worst effect as a result of decisions made at the political level. Participants were quite strong in addressing this concern and as one participant said: "We don’t know who is responsible for making decisions". This in turn has had a disintegrating impact on the countries in the region which now sees southern governments having fewer resources to support their people and in turn, they are now more easily controlled by the governments from the north. These external forces were seen to maintain structures within our countries which leaves us financially dependent.

Thus questions were raised: Is globalization another form of colonization? Northern countries were cooperating to maintain wealth and power yet the South struggles for self-determination and self-government.

Previously we had out own legal fences and protection from each other but now no one is in control anymore. It is economics that control. In the Pacific we are facing a dilemma: our governments make choices but these choices do not benefit the population. The more that economic issues drive the system, the fewer services the government provides to people, with reforms, privatization of services there are cutbacks, layoffs and loss of control.
Politics = Power & Control

On a positive note delegates felt that through discussion such as has happened during the workshop support for each other could be found to address these issues and develop common strategies.

4. Evaluating PIANGO’s Capabilities

4.1 Organizational Analysis

The Hiranga model of organizational analysis, a Maori tool for capacity building, was used to analyze PIANGO’s capabilities. According to this model, there are four components an organization requires for its well being or mauriora. These components are divided between inner factors which cannot be seen but can be felt and outer factors which can both be seen and felt. Using this tool, participants were able to identify the inner and outer strengths and weaknesses of PIANGO from which strategic objectives could be directed. These four components and factors identified in each of these components are listed below in Table 1.

Table 1 Inner & Outer Factors that can Affect an Organization

Inner Factors

Hiranga – is the energy that you need to feed to the organization such as moral support, skills and expertise that people bring.

Wairua – is the soul, the spirit of the organization; its inner values, its philosophy, ideology, vision and mission.

Outer Factors

Tikanga – is the right way to do things – the ethics of the organization; policies that direct the group; wisdom; procedures, and other practices which comes out from the Wairua.

Mana – is to do with the outward or physical forms, presence and expressions that gives dignity, power, authority, status, image, profile to the organization such as having an office, resources, logo.

The outcome of doing the organizational analysis and identifying the inner and outer factors affecting PIANGO are further highlighted in Table 2.

4.2 Management Working Group’s Ideas on Capacity Building Initiatives

Objective: To build up the capacity of PIANGO to assist NLUs.

  1. Internet-based communication and information project: Currently PIANGO is having discussions with DRC in New Zealand who are interested in a possible partnership arrangement to improve communication through technology in a cost-effective manner;
  2. National Liaison Unit Strengthening Initiative: Developing a programme based on expertise already existing in the region;
  3. Regional Training of Trainers Programme;
  4. Graduate Diploma Programme: provision of tertiary education in leadership and management skills in the NGO sector,
  5. Training/support programme for capacity building trainers.

Participants suggested that PIANGO Secretariat should be proactive and innovative in its support role. This means that it will have to be the head of creativity and planning. But it should not be a demanding task as NLUs will do the implementation. The Secretariat therefore should play a support role rather than resourcing role as currently the problem is not finding the donors but the capacity of NLUs to resource them and follow-up on the initial work. Thus more work was required to strengthen this area of NLUs operations.

5. Determining Strategic Objectives

5.1 Identifying Learning Needs of NLUs

In this section participants identified strategic objectives and analyzed possible impact(s) and risks of these objectives. The objectives were separated for the two major players: the needs of NLUs and how PIANGO could assist in meeting these needs. Participants were asked to identify three learning needs of NLUs and the NGO constituencies recognizing that there were more that three learning needs which are provided in Table 3. The outcome of the strategic planning workshop resulted in 12 recommendations which is provided in section 5.3.

Group discussion

5.2 Exploring Critical Issues

Listed below are the central issues that ware thought to be impeding PIANGO's ability to reach its goals as developed by the planning team based on a synthesis of discussions throughout the workshop.

5.2.1 Identity Issues

  • Is PIANGO an organisation or a movement or both?
  • What is PIANGO’s philosophy of development?
  • What are PIANGO’s values?
  • Do we understand them?
  • Should they be written up?
  • Are we all clear about these issues?

Table 2 Specific Identification of Inner & Outer Factors Affecting PIANGO

HIRANGA (Skills and Expertise)
  • Communication within PIANGO is improving;
  • Ability to train NLUs in many areas;
  • Has a great network to use for sharing skills;
  • Drawing on support from other organizations including UNDP;
  • Can carry out important research and provide international representation;
  • Enables indigenous voices to be heard;
  • Need to be more clear on roles and responsibilities;
  • Need more training required at all levels;
  • Need skilled & committed people – to attract and retain;
  • Need to further develop our human resources to met the needs of NLUs but recognizing that we need to strengthen ourselves before we can strengthen others, and
  • Money tends to be tied to projects.
WAIRUA (Values & Beliefs)
  • Core values: caring for our earth and all our peoples;
  • A facilitating network, helping to share information, strengthen capacity, promote Pacific identity;
  • Our strategies must mesh with our goals;
  • Need to promote the uniqueness of Pacific Islanders (small islands, diverse cultures, vulnerable on nature, economic and political fronts);
  • Channel and realize peoples need for power and self-determination;
  • Celebrate the diversity of our cultures;
  • Interplay between traditional & christian belief systems,
  • Practice sustainable, bottom-up approaches to promote social justice.
TIKANGA (Policies & Practices)
  • Draft policies and procedures need to be endorsed; must be clear to members and must be implemented;
  • Systems and structures have evolved;
  • Developing common voice, vision;
  • Strategies to build capacity are in place;
  • Mission statement needs to be reaffirmed;
  • Need to know more about work plans and initiatives that PIANGO is involved with;
  • Need good technological support;
  • Strengthen people’s participation;
  • Council meetings are necessary to build cohesion and networking;
  • Coordinating Committee could be stronger: too much work, too few funds;
  • Working Groups need commitment, time and purpose.
MANA (Profile)
  • Have survived – but our institutional memory is not strong;
  • PIANGO has more members; should continue to increase affiliates;
  • Our strength is our people;
  • Increased donor support;
  • Links with regional, government and intergovernmental bodies;
  • Providing information and resources to members;
  • Representation at international events;
  • Continuity is an issue because people change;
  • Attendees to Council meetings need to tell people about PIANGO when they go home so that it is better understood;
  • There is lack of knowledge about Working Groups; increasing participation;
  • Need better networking between members;
  • Coordinating Committee has a low profile;
  • Need to further strengthen the Secretariat;
  • Newsletter is good but not well-known;
  • NLUs need to contribute to newsletter, to support PIANGO in fundraising;
  • Disaster Preparation Programme was good and had high profile;
  • A logo is needed to enhance PIANGO’s image/profile,
  • Make PIANGO more useful to NLUs.

Table 3 Identification of NLU Needs and how PIANGO can Assist in Meeting these Needs

5.1 NLU Learning Needs 5.2 How PIANGO can Assist
Strengthening Networks and Communication
  • Improving relations between NGOs, government and custom leaders;
  • Strengthen information and networking among NLUs, NGOs and beyond PIANGO;
  • Provide guidance in how to develop networks.
  • Promote ways for NGO-government-church-customary authorities to work together;
  • Public Relations;
  • Secretariat to act as a clearing house for information: issues, technologies, programmes;
  • Motivation: PIANGO to empower NLUs to start "getting on with the job"
Access to Resources & Information
  • Funding (in-country and from outside donors);
  • Access to expertise related to priority learning needs;
  • Technology (computers, hardware, software);
  • Technical assistance;
  • Awareness of what is happening nationally, regionally and internationally.
  • Directing NGOs to needed resources and assistance;
  • Identify skills and expertise within PIANGO and make them known to members who are in need;
  • Arrange for technical assistance;
  • Secretariat to help find funding for capacity building to strengthen NLUs;
  • Update NLUs and NGOs on global issues.
  • Leadership and organisational management;
  • project management; financial management;
  • Selection of appropriate programmes and activities;
  • Technology;
  • Counselling skills: lack of counselling skills for families, youth, disasters, prisoners, hospitals and people in need.
  • Training of trainers through workshops, attachments, exchanges, role modeling and bring back ideas to our own NLUs & affiliates;
  • Developing training manuals, videos;
  • Technical assistance.

In response to these questions participants made the following comments:

  • PIANGO’s philosophy should come from our own language, concepts and images. For example the turtle is a appropriate symbol for PIANGO as it is an image we can all understand;
  • NLUs at PIANGO meetings should not forget that the unity of Pacific peoples is based on respect for diversity and self-reliance;
  • PIANGO must emphasize that development is more than economic development; it is also about the well-being of Pacific people;
  • PIANGO should remain first and foremost a movement rather than an organization. Its philosophy which has existed since its establishment is to develop people and to encourage capacity building;
  • There is a need to revisit the PIANGO’s Mission Statement and Goals. Participants strongly recommended that people take priority and be place at the top therefore what is now goal #4 should be goal #1. Discussion at the workshop looked at global and regional issues so such a phrase should be inserted into what is now goal #2 to reflect this. There is also a need to reword goal #3 to widen PIANGO’s scope and reflect its emphasis and insert "all people" and "marginalized people".

5.2.2 Organizational Structure

Participants were unclear about the roles and responsibilities of the Coordinating Committee, the Secretariat, NLUs, Working Groups and NGO constituents in their own countries. Following this lack of clarity the following suggestions and comments were made:

  • That the name Coordinating Committee be changed to the Executive Committee because their tasks are more than coordinating. There is an executive aspect to the work of members of the Coordinating Committee. Their role is not only to address policy matters, but to also play a monitoring role, drafting of plans, overseeing the implementation and evaluation of the plans, hiring of staff and assessing the Secretariat;
  • The Secretariat was seen as the working arm of PIANGO, for example, collecting and disseminating information and that it should have rules to follow. One of the roles of the Secretariat then is to carry out what has been decided as a policy matter;
  • That the role of NLUs was that they become focal points for PIANGO to disseminate information to which they in turn disseminate to their members;
  • Organizational Chart: What is the most important element of PIANGO? It is a people’s movement. PIANGO should work with who you have at the bottom – the people – find out what their needs are, and feed these into the top level. The organizational chart therefore must reflect this and start with the people at the top and work down to the Secretariat at the bottom.

Due to the lack of clarity around the roles of Working Groups some participants felt that they do have a role to play, for example, when there is special work to be done or to address a problem that has been identified. Others felt that they should be maintained as regular bodies set up in accordance with the identified issues. Working groups were nevertheless seen as important to promote the exchange of idea, debates, and finding solutions to specific problems and suggested that a member of the Coordinating Committee should be in the Group.

5.2.3 Communication

Participants questioned how PIANGO could communicate more effectively with and between its membership (NLUs), Coordinating Committee, Working Groups, other NGOs, governments and donors and also how the PIANGO Link & PIANGO Monthly could be used more effectively. The following suggestions were made:

  • That more effort was needed to improve communication systems between each other;
  • That Working Groups should forward information to the Executive Committee, the Secretariat and NLUs and NLUs then distribute these information to their membership;
  • That regular contacts be made through newsletters and workshops and again it was stressed that NLUs were responsible to ensure that newsletters got to their members;
  • That important events at NLUs be forwarded to the Secretariat for sharing with PIANGO members;
  • That at present faxes were the most effective means of communication as not all NLUs and members have access to internet; suggestion about the possibility of having satellite meetings was made, and
  • That all NLUs should aim at having e-mail for exchanging information.

5.2.4 Public Profile

Discussions around the issue of how PIANGO could improve and enhance its profile in the region and internationally and how to promote the work that PIANGO is carrying out resulted in the following suggestions.

  • That in order to promote ourselves regionally and internationally we need someone who has a high profile in the Pacific to raise our image (idea of a roving ambassador);
  • That members of NLUs who have international recognition also work to raise PIANGO’s profile;
  • That NLUs take information about PIANGO to meetings they attend and to this end PIANGO needs a promotional package for broad distribution. In addition to this package, a Logo was needed;
  • That Coordinating Committee take it upon themselves to write to governments and other authorities about PIANGO;
  • That PIANGO’s credibility relies on translating our principles into action – peoples movement, unity, diversity and self-reliance at the grassroots level;
  • That constituents should not think of PIANGO as a big money bank, and
  • That in countries which are still colonized, PIANGO should facilitate certain administrative obstacles such as visas.

5.2.5 Human Resources

Another major concerns of NLUs was the question of how we attract, support and retain strong leaders in the organization including the Coordinating Committee, Secretariat, NLUs and NGO constituents. Further, how do we involve more women and youth and aged people in the network? The following comments were made:

  • That we must realize that human resources are related to our profile. If we have a high profile we will encourage people to participate and attract more people who are motivated;
  • That we make sure we have gender balance, representation and participation;
  • That we provide more support and involvement to women and youth, and
  • That we make our work attractive to encourage participation and retention of strong leaders: We can’t attract them with money but we might be able to attract them in other ways.

5.2.6 Membership

Discussions about membership raised the issue of how PIANGO and NLUs can increase their membership. Furthermore questions were raised about how these new members could be supported including being more inclusive - an example of the need to be more inclusive was the language issue – the fact that there were two common languages (English & French) spoken by PIANGO needed to be addressed.

It was recognized that increases in membership will very depend on our promotional ability and how we set about promoting both PIANGO’s profile and the profile of NLUs. One suggestion that was made following the Coordinator’s Report that only one NLU had paid its dues gave participants the resolve to suggest that all NLUs pay their dues.

5.2.7 Programmes/Strategies

In the light of the priority learning needs identified by the NLUs, what are the programme priorities for PIANGO for the next three years? Do the strategies proposed by the Management Working group address those needs? What changes needed to be added or deleted? Participants made the comment that a database of fields of expertise in the Pacific in areas such as capacity building and revenue generation were needed. What was voiced firmly was that donors should not direct us on what to do. Rather they should be supportive and cross the colonial boundaries.

5.2.8 PIANGO’s Strengths

Out of these group discussions and feedback to the meeting participants were able to see where PIANGO had come from and be proud of its achievements. The following are some of the feelings expressed by them:

  • PIANGO has survived and prospered!
  • We have established a Secretariat!
  • There are more NLUs!
  • Networking has increased!
  • PIANGO is an effective vehicle or mechanism for bringing Pacific NGOs together!
  • Micronesia is now participating!
  • PIANGO has been abled to secure some core funding for administration and programming!
  • PIANGO has helped to strengthen relations between NGOs, donors and governments!

5.3 Recommendations from the Strategic Planning Workshop

  1. Review PIANGO’s Mission Statement and Goals to ensure that the mission clearly reflects the nature of PIANGO – including the need to address whether it is an organization or a movement.

  2. Develop appropriate policies and procedures to guide the work of PIANGO.

  3. Review the roles and functions of the Working Groups and determine whether or not they should be permanent, issue-based or ad hoc as the need arises.

  4. Articulate the core beliefs and values that guide the work of PIANGO.

  5. Provide relevant and timely information on issues of concerns to NLUs and member NGOs through Resource Centre, Databases (skills and funding sources), Clearing house for information, and Newsletters.

  6. Ensure that the Coordinating Committee, Secretariat and NLUs understand and fulfill their roles and responsibilities including accountability, commitment and clear communication channels.

  7. Develop and implement strategies to enhance PIANGO’s profile within the region and internationally through having a logo and development of promotional materials.

  8. Strengthen relations between NGOs, governments and donors at the national, regional and international level.

  9. Promote positive working relations between NGOs, churches and traditional customary authorities.

  10. Strengthen links between NLUs, the Secretariat and Working Groups.

  11. Develop and implement capacity building programmes with NLUs and NGOs in response to their identified needs.

  12. Promote and support the formation of new NLUs.

6. Action Plan

PIANGO’s Strategic Plan for the next three years developed as a result of the workshop and subsequent recommendations has been developed and produced as a separate document. Copies can be obtained from the Secretariat.

7. Evaluation of the Strategic Planning workshop

Objective (iv) of the Workshop which was identified prior to the meeting was that an evaluation be conducted and recommendations made to improve future PIANGO meetings. Not only was an evaluation an important tool used in assessing such workshops but it is also a tool that was used to gauge reactions and perceptions of the participants who were asked to provided feedback to the facilitators and also back to the group.

The two and a half day Workshop was very intensive and participants were put through some very interesting and demanding tasks. Despite the rain delegates experienced some very important "wairua" or the spirit of the organization which must be highlighted. These inner experiences can be translated as the feeling of "ownership", "family", "commitment" that was shared by all the participants and expressed in their feedback. To have arrived at this end we owe our gratitude and appreciation to all Collen, Josie, Joe and John for the tremendous efforts they put into the Workshop.

Participants’ responses have been broken down into several categories and comments from individuals themselves indicate more clearly the experiences, insights, significance and in their own words what they saw, felt and thought about the Workshop.

7.1 Relationships

  • Getting to know people better and discussing things where we have common interests;
  • Communication with delegates and donors and sharing new ideas;
  • The strength of the meeting is the unity of diverse cultures;
  • The unified focus of such diverse groups of people to own such an outcome;
  • The solidarity and awareness that we belong to one Pacific identity though PIANGO;
  • Uniqueness has moved toward consensus;
  • Very encouraging to belong to this great Pacific family;
  • Always great to meet old and new friends and sharing our needs in public, knowing we are PIANGO, knowing were are a Pacific family;
  • Encouraging everyone to participate and strengthen PIANGO and makes us feel as if we know PIANGO;
  • Reaffirming the Pacific way and the Pacific say!


Despite cultural diversity, hospitality and commonality remains the same.

7.2 Looking Forward

  • The need to break down barriers especially colonial ones;
  • Feeling numb at the amount of information and work;
  • There is still so much to talk about and so much to do;
  • Prepared to render services to newly established NLUs;
  • Strategic planning;
  • The consistency of messages, needs and priorities of Pacific NGOs over the past 10 years: and now we have a way forward of addressing those issues!
  • The wonder of learning new things exhilarates the heart to learn more and to take action;
  • Grateful for what I have learned this week, to be more concerned about culture;
  • The sun is shining for the taro roots;
  • The struggle never ends; every little step contributes to the well-being of future generations;
  • Wow!
  • At last renewed!
  • Reinforced the notion that when the people lead, the leaders will follow.
We are still sailors of the Pacific; we are still navigating but the winds of change are with us


  • Appreciation of the strength of PIANGO
  • PIANGO does exist and will continue to do so: commitment;
  • United NGOs will make us work faster and easier;
  • Acceptance is the centrality of PIANGO’s strength;
  • Micronesia: welcome to PIANGO;
  • The possibilities of PIANGO!
  • PIANGO tomorrow depends on PIANGO today,
  • Commitment and concern from everyone for improvement.
I am proud to be part of PIANGO and of the conference that has brought together all the peoples of the Pacific

7.4 Facilitation

  • If you take care of the process, the process will take care of you;
  • Well managed participatory process for such a large diverse group;
  • Great chairing, networking, stamina;
  • Keep the NGO edge and being mindful of not being proactive;
  • Impressed with high motivation discussions by participants;
  • Positive direction accomplished in harmony

Josie facilitation

Excellent because of the work of the facilitators


7.5 Logistics

  • People are so dedicated and hard working during these few days;
  • Cooperation and tolerance;
  • Interaction, comradeship and accomplishment;
  • Great strength and commitment of people at the local level.

Henry etal


8. Report from the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting

The formal Council business took place from the afternoon of Wednesday 28 to Thursday 29 July. 30 delegates and 19 observers from 20 National Liaison Units and budding NLUs were officially represented at the meeting What will be provided in this Report are summaries of the main issues that arose at the meeting.

8.1 Report from the Coordinating Committee

The Coordinating Committee presented a verbal report to Council outlining actions taken out since the 1995 Council Meeting. These include the following:

  • Establishment of the Management Working Group in 1997 as one outcome of the Commonwealth Regional Workshop for the Pacific in 1996;
  • Staging of the Third NGO Parallel Forum with PCRC in 1997,
  • Hiring of a consultant to do a feasibility study and identify an appropriate location of the Secretariat,
  • Appointment of a Coordinator in December 1998.

8.2 Report from the Coordinator

The Coordinator spoke to his 1998 Report and Audited Financial Statement. Since his appointment in January 1998 the following have been achieved:

  • Establishment of the Secretariat;
  • Establishment of a Management and Financial Systems;
  • Establishment of communication systems between the Secretariat and Coordinating Committee, Working Groups and NLUs;
  • Facilitating Coordinating Committee & Working Groups meetings;
  • Networking nationally, regionally and internationally;
  • Secretariat has been utilized as a vehicle for collective voice and action on issues of concern to NGOs and people they serve through representation at international and forums;
  • Memorandum of Understanding between PIANGO and the Government of Vanuatu;
  • PIANGO NGO Capacity Building Strategy and
  • Appointment of a Financial Administrator.

8.3 Report on the Resolutions of the 2nd Council Meeting

Reports on the resolutions of the 1995 meeting were presented by the Coordinator. As he had only been appointed since January of 1998 the status of a number of the resolutions could either not be reported or else the issues now belonged to our past history. Nevertheless many of them had actually been accomplished – some in the absence of a Coordinator and a Secretariat but which were achieved by the Coordinating Committee. Some of these accomplishments include:

  1. Establishment of the Indigenous Working Group, Social Issues Working Group; Economics Working Group and the Environment Working Group in 1997;
  2. Appointment of the Coordinator who is responsible for setting up the Secretariat, and
  3. Revision of the draft Constitution

8.4 Resolutions Endorsed at the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting

The resolutions endorsed at this meeting reflected to a high degree a better and clearer understanding and appreciation of the process of organizational changes as a result of the Strategic Planning Workshop. There was no doubt that participants at this meeting found a tool which clarified much of where PIANGO was, where it is now and where it will go in the future.

8.4.1 Endorsement of the Recommendations from the PIANGO Strategic Planning Workshop

Council endorsed the recommendations which arose from the Strategic Planning Workshop which would set the direction PIANGO takes over the next couple of years

8.4.2 Re-Location of Secretariat

The issue of re-locating the Secretariat from Vanuatu to Fiji was a very heated one. In 1997 the Coordinating Committee hired the services of a consultant to identify an appropriate location for the establishment of the Secretariat subsequently recommended Nadi, Fiji as the most appropriate. In 1998 following the appointment of the Coordinator, attempts were made to establish the Secretariat in Fiji but to no avail: visas for the Coordinator and his family were not granted in 11 months; attempts to have official approval for establishing the office failed. By the end of 1998 the Secretariat was moved to Vanuatu. Within three months of moving to Vanuatu, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by PIANGO and the Government of Vanuatu to host the Secretariat in Port Vila.

Delegates could not reach a consensus and voted on a formal motion to have the Secretariat permanently established in Vanuatu. This motion was defeated (14 to 6 against) and the 1995 Council resolution to set up the Secretariat ultimately in Fiji was upheld.

For purposes of recording PIANGO’s history arguments for and against the relocation are provided in Table 4.

Table 4. Arguments for and against the relocation of the Secretariat to Fiji.

Arguments for relocating the Secretariat to Fiji Arguments against relocating the Secretariat to Fiji
  • the only reason that the Secretariat was located in Vanuatu was because the Council meeting was going to be held here;
  • it was a policy direction from the Coordinating Committee;
  • that the Coordinator was a ni-Vanuatu;
  • the concerns of what the donors would think after spending a large amount of money in carrying out the feasibility study;
  • that Fiji is central in terms of travel;
  • that Fiji was more accessible;
  • that Fiji was more economical;
  • that Fiji has a host of regional organizations that PIANGO need to keep in contact with;
  • that there is no government policy against an organization being set up in the country.
  • the non-acceptance of the Fiji Government to recognize PIANGO;
  • the immediate acceptance and recognition of PIANGO by the Vanuatu Government;
  • that Fiji was already over-represented by regional organizations;
  • that the costs for re-location would be too great as it has already cost the organization enough money for relocating the office to Vanuatu – money which would otherwise be used in the organization;
  • that the Coordinator was a ni-Vanuatu;
  • that the nationality of the Coordinator should not be used as an argument to re-locate the Secretariat;
  • that Council had made the commitment to having a presence throughout the region and this move would be backing down on that commitment;
  • the move to relocate the office raises PIANGO’s core beliefs and values;
  • that there was no show of unity between the Fiji delegates on this issue;
  • fear of the office closing down as a result of moving to Fiji.
  • that the Secretariat can access regional offices just as easily now through e-mail;

8.4.3 Endorsement of New NLU Member & Interim Members

Council accepted the Federated States of Micronesia as the 16th full member of PIANGO and Guam, Niue, Palau and West Papua as Interim members.

8.4.4 Revised Constitution

In 1991 when PIANGO was established a draft constitution was adopted. At the 1995 meeting, Council empowered the Coordinating Committee to revise this draft constitution and circulate it to NLUs six months prior to the next Council meeting. A revised version was drafted by Azam Khan and tabled at the Management Working Group meeting in May 1999. Although this was circulated to Coordinating Committee for their comments it was not circulated to NLUs. Another revised draft was drawn up and tabled by Bill Armstrong at the meeting which was duly accepted. Further changes were made at the Meeting itself but it was seen that this revised version still required further work.

One contentious amendment to the constitution was the strong call for the recognition of parallel NLUs which was moved by Aotearoa/New Zealand and supported by Australia and subsequently adopted

That Council add to the last sentence (of the constitution) "There can only be one NLU per country (or territory) except where the rights of indigenous peoples in any country require the establishment of parallel process. In such cases, two NLUs may be represented by the delegation will exercise one vote".

In support of this move Australia stated that this move will support indigenous people in Australia. Arguments against the move noted concerns that efforts should be made by indigenous groups in one country to try and work together rather than forming separate NLUs, that this move could mean that any foreign NGOs in a country could legitimately establish their own NLUs and become members of PIANGO.

Council accept the revised constitution as discussed and moved a resolution to empower the Coordinating Committee to improve the format of the constitution, perhaps arrange some items in the proper order. The various amendments to the revised constitution which were endorsed has been noted by the Secretariat.

8.4.5 Donor Receptiveness

Donors were receptive to the needs of NGOs and re-thinking about whose agenda they should follow after the presentation of the Recommendations from the Workshop. As Don Clark of NZODA stated:

From a donor perspective and the worry about donors driving the agenda, for sustainable development, development needs to be grassroots driven. Donors have a responsibility to be proactive in developing effective partnerships that meet the needs articulated by local communities. This is in everyone’s Mission Statements, although the reality is quite different. I would like to suggest to other NGOs and government donors to convene their own meetings for the purpose of thinking through how they might respond to the PIANGO agenda rather than vice versa. (28 July 1999).

In support of this quite positive change in the direction of donor attitude a motion was moved that Council endorse and encourage the notion that donors and other NGOs convene their own meetings for the purpose of thinking through how they might respond to the PIANGO Agenda.

New Coordinating Committee Members

New Coordinating committee

Roland Oldham (Tahiti); Joseph Ogaie (Papua New Guinea); Meme Tong (Kiribati); Paula Sotutu (Fiji); Chair Elect - Hana Tukukino (Aotearoa/New Zealand); Joy Balazo (Australia); Tina Takashy (FSM)

8.6 Location of the next Council Meeting

Delegates from Micronesia all offered to host the next Council Meeting and agreed to leave the decision to the Coordinating Committee to decide the location – pending funding availability.

8.7 End of Council Meeting

Gabriel gave a moving closing speech in Tahitian and thanked the people of Mele for their hospitality in hosting the Council. He thanked all the participants and the Management Working Group for their support, energy and commitment to the development of PIANGO’s strategic plans; the organizers and resource people for their unceasing energy in putting together the Council meeting. In particular in thanked the Coordinator for his hard work in establishing the Secretariat. As this meeting was the last time that Gabriel would be attending as Chair of the Coordinating Committee, he thank all the CC members whom he had had the privilege of working with and wished the new CC members success in their work for PIANGO.


In parting he handed over the paddle to the new Chair with the following words "This is where you will find our strength".

9. Celebrating Vanuatu’s 19th Independence Anniversary

30 July 1999

This day was an historic occasion for PIANGO which saw the Prime Minister of Vanuatu, the Hon. Donald Kalpokas Masikevanua publicly recognize PIANGO and invite Gabriel Tetiarahi to the official ceremony to mark Vanuatu’s 19th independent anniversary. The occasion was a moving one for Gabriel not only because of the Prime Minister’s recognition of PIANGO but on a more personal note because of the joy and happiness that he saw and felt by a people who have achieved their independence.

In the meantime, back at Mele...

After the very intensive and positive outcome from the weeks schedule, participants were treated to a light-hearted business of dressing in "kalakala" where they were dressed in the local island dress and shirts! Delegates then proceeded to Independence Park where they partook in the celebration of Vanuatu’s 19 Independence Anniversary. Being dressed in "kalakala" was a real hit as the delegates could easily identify other PIANGO members but they also attracted the attention of the crowds who wondered who they were. And the response from delegates?

We are PIANGO!


10. Closing of the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting

The official closing ceremony was held on the afternoon of 30 July at Mele Village. Delegates were able to present gifts to families and to the people of Mele people through Chief Poilapa.

A closing ceremony was conducted on behalf of participants by the delegates from Tahiti who expressed Council’s appreciation to the Mele Community for their very warm hospitality and clockwork precision in hosting such a large group. This traditional ceremony saw the Tahitians light a fire around stones using coconut husks and wood – symbols which many saw as a sign of PIANGO laying its foundation.

In accordance with the traditions of Mele delegates from Micronesia then cut the banana to signify that the meeting at the Village was now formally closed and the cutting of the banana thus paved the way forward for the next village to host the next meeting.

(It is believed that the bananas went back to Nauru and we hope that Ruby Willis and her families enjoyed them!)

11. Appendices

List of Appendices

Appendix 1 List of Participants at the 3rd PIANGO Council Meeting

Appendix 1 National Liaison Units Affiliated to PIANGO – July 1999

Appendix 3 Programme for PIANGO’s 3rd Council Meeting

Appendix 4 Steps in the Strategic Planning Process

Appendix 5 Time Chart of PIANGO’s History

Appendix 6 Notes from the Media Workshop

Appendix 7 Notes from the Information Technology Workshop

Appendix 8 Notes from the NGO/Donor Relationships in the Pacific

Appendix 9 List of Acronyms

Appendix 10 Statement of Income and Expenses For the Council Meeting

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